Annette Smith: An examination of Vermont’s energy policies

https://vtdigger.org/2018/03/18/annette-smith-examination-vermonts-energy-policies/

Mar 18 2018

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Annette Smith, who is the executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment Inc. http://www.vce.org/ She is a member of the Rutland Regional Planning Commission, where she currently chairs the ad hoc energy committee. She has lived off grid in Danby for 30 years, and was named he 2016 Burlington Free Press Vermonter of the Year.

Most Vermonters accept the reality of climate change and support shifting our energy needs towards renewables. But in my conversations with Vermonters I have found that almost no one fully understands the mechanisms that have been put in place to achieve the state’s renewable energy goals. In fact, our energy policies are so complicated and convoluted that even Vermont legislators – many of whom consistently vote in favor of bills purporting to bring the state closer to a goal of 90 percent renewables by 2050 – don’t really understand them.

To help citizens and policymakers make more informed decisions, Vermonters for a Clean Environment has just released a report, Understanding Vermont’s Energy Policies. The report gives an overview of Vermont’s renewable energy policies, and provides context about our place in the regional electric grid. Continue reading

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VCE’s Energy Policy Report on the Dave Gram Show, March 14, 2018

http://wdevradio.com/the-dave-gram-show-march-14-2018/

THE DAVE GRAM SHOW – MARCH 14, 2018

Radio Vermont

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:46:34 — 97.6MB) | Embed

In the first hour, Annette Smith executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, talks about a report released by her group Monday saying Vermont has been going about the development of renewable energy in all the wrong ways. Then we hear from Austin Davis of Renewable Energy Vermont, who thinks the state is largely on the right track.

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Understanding Vermont’s Energy Policies

Report Shows Vermont Policies Not Achieving Renewable Energy Goals

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 Vermonters for a Clean Environment has released a report, Understanding Vermont’s Energy Policies. It describes five current policies, and explains how they are not doing what Vermonters expect regarding energy policy and consumption. The five policies the paper reviews are:

·      Renewable Energy Standard (RES) 

·      standard-offer program

·      net-metering program

·      Act 174’s energy planning process 

·      Arbitrage with Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)

            Most Vermonters accept the reality of climate change and support the transition to renewable energy from fossil fuels; however, if Vermonters truly want better energy policies and outcomes, the discourse and procedures must be comprehensible and honest, with considerably more transparency.  Currently, only the industrial scale developers, utilities, and regulators have a firm grasp on Vermont’s energy policy maze.

            “Most Vermonters would be stunned to know that we have actually seen an increase in carbon emissions due to our current energy policies,” said Annette Smith, Executive Director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment (VCE). “From public discourse to date, it appears most Vermonters do not realize we get little renewable energy from our State’s wind and solar developments, while simultaneously costing ratepayers significantly more money,” Smith added.

            Smith commented that currently, Vermont is meeting energy goals with monetary and paper transactions, not with honesty and transparency in terms of costs, profits and benefits.  Additionally, any transition to renewables has to include less energy consumption.  

            As the report summary states, “The best possible outcomes are achieved when all stakeholders – utilities, developers, regulators, property owners, investors and communities – are well informed partners in transparent and equitable solutions.”

            “VCE’s goal”, says Smith, “is to provide Vermonters with a solid understanding of what they are and are not getting from current policy, and help inform energy policy going forward.”

            To read VCE’s report, go to http://www.vce.org/VCE_WhitePaper_UnderstandingVermontEnergyPolicies_12March2018.pdf  

(high resolution, 29.6 MB), or 

http://www.vce.org/VCE_WhitePaper_UnderstandingVermont_EnergyPolicies_12March2018.pdf

(low resolution, 3.6 MB) 

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New Documentary Film about Wind in Vermont

WIND: A Struggle for the Character of Vermont

click on the image to watch the film

 

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LCAR Legislators’ Responses to VCE’s Public Records Act Request

Videos of LCAR Wind Noise Rule Hearings: 6/8/17, 6/22/17, 8/3/17, 10/12/17, 10/26/17.  In total LCAR spent 10 hours and 20 minutes on the PUC’s wind noise rule.

Screen Shot 2017-11-03 at 2.46.02 PMOn October 16, 2017, Vermonters for a Clean Environment filed Public Records Act (PRA) requests with the eight legislators who serve on the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules.  This was an unusual action for VCE to take because in the past, legislators did not respond to PRA requests.  On Oct. 18, 2017 VCE held a press conference in the Vermont Statehouse announcing the filing of the PRA requests.

We took this extreme (to us) step after sitting through eight hours of hearings before LCAR on the Public Utility Commission’s Wind Noise Rule where most members’ questions were entirely focused on protecting the industry.  The legislative intent in instructing the PUC to conduct rule-making was to produce sound standards that are more protective of Vermonters than the standards previously applied.

We witnessed interactions between industry lobbyists and LCAR members throughout those eight hours of hearings, and decided it was important to shine some sunshine on the relationship between Vermonters’ elected representatives and the wind industry’s lobbyists.

Five members of LCAR chose to take the extra 10 days allowed by law.  Below are the responses VCE received by the Oct. 30 deadline.  The cost was $94.50.  Each of the legislators’ responses are separated by two lines, and there are eight in total, numbered to make it easier to follow.  Separate responses within each legislators’ sections are separated by one line. Continue reading

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“Green Energy”, Avangrid/Iberdrola’s Deerfield Wind in Readsboro and Searsburg, Vt., Formerly Critical Bear Habitat

This gallery contains 29 photos.

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Derrick Jensen’s Resistance Radio interview with VCE’s Annette Smith, April 9, 2017

https://resistanceradioprn.podbean.com/e/resistance-radio-annette-smith-040917/

April 9, 2017 @ 7:00 pm

Resistance Radio – Annette Smith – 04.09.17

Annette Smith is executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, an organization she co-founded 15 years ago with Vermont citizens when a large energy project was proposed for her region.  After successfully defeating that project, Annette has worked with Vermonters throughout the state to defeat large quarries, landfills, farms, and other large energy proposals while also improving Vermont’s groundwater protection laws.  Annette has lived off-grid with solar in Vermont for more than 20 years, hand milks a cow, has a flock of chickens, grows most of her own food including citrus in a greenhouse, and seeks change through collaboration when possible and opposition when necessary 

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